The Rocketeer once again returns from the presses of IDW Publishing, with an all new adventure. This time he’s not alone but teams up with that other much loved dieselpunk pulp hero: Will Eisner‘s The Spirit.
Which is great news for fans of both heroes, as this particular crossover is pretty brilliant.
The story switches between both Central City, homebase to the Denny Colt, aka the Spirit, Ellen and her father Commissioner Dolan, who end up investigation the unhappy demise of, who’s body ends up discovered by Cliff’s girlfriend Betty in LA. Teaming up with Cliff Secord, aka the Rocketeer; Betty and Peevy to unravel the mystery at hand and make sure the culprits get caught. Travelling back and forth, with new villains and of course, the Spirit’s nemesis the Octopus, who try to pull through a dastardly plot via a new technological development.
Let me tell you this, you will give a piece of tech we have in pretty much every household these days with suspicion for a moment after reading this particular dieselpunk volume.
Even though it combines two very different settings, the author and artists do a fantastic job representing both fantastically, and combining these worlds in a realistic fashion that does both justice. And the little winks to older issues of both as well as the Spirit movie are simply little strokes of genius. If the original creators of these fantastic worlds and characters were still alive, they would surely feel that the team behind Pulp Friction did them more than proud.
This time IDW even managed to not screw over the chronology and the latest edition is indeed, timewise, the last in the series. They did, however, hire three different artists for 4 issues. The styles aren’t that radically different, but still, it would be nice to see one artist for an entire Rocketeer storyline for once.
Whilst this is, like the other issues of The Rocketeer so far, a standalone storyline, it does help to have read at least the original Rocketeer works by Dave Stevens so you know the back story of the main characters from that setting. The same goes for Will Eisner’s The Spirit, although you can get away with just watching the movie from a couple of years ago to get yourself up to date enough for this story. This isn’t a necessesity of course, but it would help, else you may be left with some questions.
All of this aside, putting both of these cult heroes together actually makes for the best Rocketeer release to date, and I personally hope that this will be the start of a separate IDW Publishing The Spirit series as well, it would be certainly be something I read and collect with as much pleasure as The Rocketeer. And I’m sure that many fans of this genre feel exactly the same way. A definite recommendation.